Waiting for Spring

Renowned and outspoken Syrian poet Hala Mohammad explains how she thinks poetry is central to the political change underway in the Middle East, and especially to the fight against Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president.

Her work is respected for tackling memory, fear, alienation and loneliness and they are feelings which pervade this moving meditation from a woman trapped in exile for medical reasons.

She may be living in Paris, the city of romance, but her stay is marked by despair and claustrophobia as she is forced to watch from afar the deepening crisis in her country.

But even with her faith in politics exhausted, Hala retains her belief in the power of poetry to inspire change.

25 mins, 2011

Produced for Al Jazeera’s ‘Artscape: Poets of Protest’ series. First broadcast: Friday 7 September 2012, With SDI Productions

Director –Yasmin Fedda / Producer -Roxana Vilk / Executive Producers – Flora Gregory (Al Jazeera), Noe Mendelle & Sonja Henrici (SDI Productions) / Editor – Adam Thomas / Camera – Ian Dodds / Music -Dan Gorman / Sound Design -Peter Vilk

‘You gain access to some of the most remarkable films about contemporary poetry and poets’ Scottish Pen

Director statement

I have been visiting Syria all of my life and when the uprising began I felt hopeful that much needed change would come to the country.

However, as time goes on, and more people are killed, it becomes an increasingly painful struggle. At the same time, it has been inspiring to see and read about the artistic work and courage of protesters in Syria.

I wanted to find out more about how Syrian poets are responding to the conflict and uprising in their country.

When I came across the poems of Hala Mohammad I was struck by their clear, refined structures and use of everyday language to evoke her feelings and thoughts about what was happening in her country as she watched from afar, exiled in Paris.

I also wanted to use this film to highlight the work of artists, poets and protesters on the ground in Syria – people who have been finding creative ways to express and resist ever increasing violence and oppression.